There are few pleasures greater than a cup of your favorite beverage to either start or wind down the day. At The Shop, we have you covered for any of your beverage needs. One of our featured beverages is tea from small business Tea Zaanti. We sat down with owner, Scott Lyttle, to hear more about the path to opening Tea Zaanti and what it is today, as well as his favorite thing on the menu.
What is Tea Zaanti?
Tea Zaanti is Salt Lake City’s only Tea and Wine Café located in Sugar House across the street from the post office. We provide a relaxed atmosphere for friends and family to have a conversation over a cup of tea or glass of wine.
How did you get into the tea business?
I was born in Canada and my grandparents always had tea in the morning and before bed, so drinking tea has always been a family tradition. Once I started discovering all the types of teas, it truly captured my imagination, discovering new and exciting wines holds that same fascination for me. Plus, coffee has too much caffeine for me!
What has your path to entrepreneurship looked like?
My path to entrepreneurship was very slow and conservative. I’d always dreamed of having my own café, but never had the nerve to take the plunge. So I spent 17yrs working in the non-profit world doing fundraising, marketing and finance until Becky (my wife) and I felt comfortable taking a risk. My first experience was ~10 years ago with a specialty foods business making hummus and granola for farmer’s markets… that was a learning process about scalability! And then we came across this opportunity and it’s been amazing (mostly) ever since – and we still make the hummus and granola!
What is your favorite memory from the early days of Tea Zaanti?
We went from a very small boutique shop that one person could manage for the full day to a staff of over 10 people. Sometimes there is a line out the doors. Favorite memories happen every day. The restaurant and service industry, if enjoyed correctly and you have enough cushion, is the greatest industry in the world. Our staff is amazing, they keep me young and on my toes. Our customers are amazing, I love chatting with them everyday and they have become friends. The small little hassles never end, but at the end of the day I get excited about going to the shop every day to create new memories.
Where/who do you get the majority of your tea from?
We work with over 12 different distributors from all over the world – large folks to small mom and pop importers. The most import thing is to trust your distributors. It’s important to us that they source from quality suppliers who take great care of their crops and workers.
Can you speak to your tea cocktail recipes?
That’s Becky’s passion project. She always said that if tea was really going to take off, people need to enjoy it ALL Day! We see 3 different approaches to tea cocktails and the possibilities are endless
- 1) Use tea as your base instead of soda or juice (or sub for part of your base)
- 2) Flavor your simple syrup with tea to add a nice subtle hint of flavor
- 3) infuse your liquor with tea (just steep at room temp for 10-30 minutes) to add a fun twist to some of your favorite strong drinks.
Can you speak to the events Tea Zaanti holds?
Currently we are focusing on Special Order Wine Nights every other Thursday, and we host the occasional winemaker when they come through town. Also watch the calendar for more tea specific events – like Tea 101 coming up April 29.
What is your favorite item on the menu? Do you have any new items you’re about to roll out?
I love the Grateful Dead Grilled Cheese! We will be rolling out an updated menu in the next week, stay tuned!
What can people do to best support Tea Zaanti?
Just swing by the shop and introduce themselves and enjoy our award winning patio. Or come to one of our Wine Nights.
Interested in visiting Tea Zaanti? Shop Members get 10% off a cup of coffee or tea in store. Talk with the Community Team for more details!